Google+ is a ghost town. Google+ is dying. Google+ is dead. You read it on the Internet, so it must be true, right?

Google+ Is Dead?

Only months after its widely publicized launch, articles began declaring Google+ had missed its opportunity to compete successfully with social media leader Facebook. Other reported that the network would succumb to an early demise and even that  Google+ was already dead. However, if the new metrics from Experian Hitwise are correct, Google+ will not be walking toward the light any time soon. The firm recently reported that Google+ more than doubled its month over month traffic in December to achieve 49 million total visits. The firm’s data also showed that traffic to Google’s social network has increased in eight of the last nine weeks.

Google+ traffic trends

Google+ traffic trends

Google+’s 62 million members may only be a fraction of the 800 million-member Facebook nation, but that’s no indicator of the network’s sustainability. Google is the most visited US  website with over 153 million unique visitors per month, and Google is incorporating Google+ features into almost every aspect of its vast offerings -- including Android, which has over 700,000 sales each day.

1+ for Google+

The last official numbers on Google+ membership were in October. The network had achieved 40 million users only months after its debut, making it the fastest-growing social network ever. Google+ did benefit from the fact that social networking was already well-established when it debuted, however being a late comer doesn’t account for all of Google+’s success. Facebook required four years to reach the 60 million-member mark. Industry analyst and founder Paul Allen predicts Google+ will reach 400 million users by the end of 2012 given an estimated  625,000 member per day rate of growth.

The numbers are impressive, but Allen’s estimates may actually be low. Global Web Index reported that Google+ membership reached 150 million in December, making Google+ more popular than Twitter after only six months of existence.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a fan of Google+. The level of engagement and quality of conversation seems much higher than other social networks. However, its lackluster application programing interface (API), which does not allow content updates, will limit its growth because developers will not be able to create the rich ecosystem of complementary applications that are a staple of other social networks. Which social network do you prefer? Is Google+ the future leader of social media or should we expect to say farewell soon? There is a comment box below -- use it.